First Great Valley Alumni Society Coat Drive collects 120+ items for charity

Members of the Great Valley Alumni Society pose with representatives from Ann's Heart

Members of the Great Valley Alumni Society and representatives of Ann's Heart, a local non-profit in Phoenixville. The Alumni Society delivered the items in-person to Ann's Heart. 

Credit: Penn State

MALVERN, Pa. — The Great Valley Alumni Society recently held an inaugural coat drive to support local Chester County citizens in need of warm clothing this winter. Boxes were placed in the lobbies of the Main Building and the Conference Center Building on Great Valley’s campus for donations of new and gently used coats, jackets, sweatshirts and other clothing items.

Between October and mid-December the group collected the following:

  • 12 young children’s coats
  • 10 teen coats
  • 14 women’s sweaters, shirts, and pants
  • 19 women’s jackets
  • 21 women’s coats
  • 16 men’s sweatshirts and sweaters
  • 18 men’s jackets
  • 11 men’s coats
  • 6 men’s shirts
  • A variety of socks and scarves

All items were delivered to Ann’s Heart to support their Code Blue Winter Warming Center. Located in nearby Phoenixville, the center serves as an emergency overnight shelter for men, women and children that operates during cold conditions from November to April. Members of the Alumni Society delivered the items in-person in December.

“The people at Code Blue were extremely grateful for the volume of donations and overwhelmed with the amount of generosity from the Penn State community,” said Alumni Society member Annamarie Walter, who coordinated the coat drive. “It was heartwarming and humbling to visit the shelter when we delivered the coats. Our visit confirmed for me that we made an excellent decision on choosing Ann’s Heart and Code Blue as an organization to support.”

As this was the campus’ first coat drive, selecting a nearby organization was important to members of the Alumni Society.

“We wanted our donations to impact the local community, which is why we selected Ann’s Heart,” said Natalie Fitzgerald, president of the Great Valley Alumni Society. “This coat drive was a huge success, and we’re thankful to the alumni, students, faculty and staff who supported us. We’re also grateful to Sue Kershner and the maintenance staff at Penn State Great Valley — we couldn’t have done it without their support and promotion of the event. We look forward to connecting with the student body on future endeavors.”

The Great Valley Alumni Society hopes to continue the campus’ charitable momentum by holding a drive for professional clothing items later this winter. Donations will support an upcoming event with My Career Transitions, a networking organization aiding greater Philadelphia professionals in their career paths.

The mission of the Great Valley Alumni Society is to provide guidance to the school and be responsive to the needs to graduate students through three channels:

  1. Continue the interest of all Penn State Great Valley graduates, former students, and the business community.
  2. Draw upon the members' professional expertise to provide advice and volunteer leadership to the administrators of the school.
  3. Connect Penn State Great Valley alumni to the University and each other.

The group is open to all graduates of Penn State Great Valley who are members of the Penn State Alumni Association. More information can be found on the Penn State Great Valley website.